Two features of social science that distinguish it from other ways of representing social phenomena are its explicit dialogue with theory and its commitment to systematic methodology (Ragin and Amoroso, 2011). The latter is especially important because methodology provides conventions both for constituting evidence and for crafting representations of social phenomena (i.e., “results”) from evidence. When social research is conducted with the goal of contributing to policy debates, methodology is not a mere academic question, but also a political issue because different methodologies may produce fundamentally different representations of the same evidence (i.e., different “results” or “findings”). Representations can diverge sharply even when the definition of what constitutes relevant evidence (e.g., survey data) is held constant....
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